Friday, December 30, 2011

More cousin fun

Playing dress up and doing a fashion show.

At the Children's Museum. My niece, Sarah, clearly did not want to get on that dinosaur for the picture.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rathburn Cousins

Celebrating cousin Noah's birthday
Happy New Year picture

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in NC

Christmas in NC with lots of Gates cousins meant a lot of fun.

Grammy-Go to bounce house and out for doughnuts.
Acting out the Nativity Christmas Eve.
New pajamas. Leland - Tinker Bell, Lucy - Spider Man (the obsession now on its 2nd year), Charly - Cars
Sprinkling "reindeer food" off the balcony. The camera really picked up on the glitter which made the pictures really cool.
Waiting to come downstairs.
Can you tell there is a Cars theme going with the Charly?
Reading all the blog posts from the Gates Family gifts of Service. We all read them together with the missing family members on Skype.
Wonderful hand carved African creche from Grammy and Papa.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Grammy & Papa

We were able to welcome Grammy & Papa home from their 18 month LDS mission to Congo, Africa. The girls were so excited to see them after getting to see them only on Skype for so many months.
After many hugs, kisses, and tears the first stop was a hot chocolate from Starbucks.
Then the remainder of our few days with them revolved around food...steak dinner with vegetables not from a can, yummy OJ, whole milk, yogurt, hot dogs.
They were very jet lagged and fell asleep often, but we managed to do some fun Christmas festivities. We toured the state Capitol building and the Governor's mansion.
We then made a few stops along the RVA Tacky Light's tour.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A week with cousins

Back in December, Chuck's cousin David passed away. To enable Chuck's sisters to be able to go to the services in Utah, I watched my niece and nephew for a few days. We had a great time playing together. I had a 6, 4, 3, and two 2 yr olds for 5 days. It was exhausting.
Zetta was the little princess who wanted to be in dress ups all day long. Charly enjoyed having a super buddy with Houston.
My aunt and I took the kids to the Festival Of Lights at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

The favorite discovery of all was the train display. Around the outside of the display were buttons the kids could push to make some of the figurines or buildings do things. One button made a house smoke from fire then the fire truck would come. It was awesome!
We wore those kids out. It was so much fun.

When Hock and his brother came to pick up the kids at the end of the week we acted out the nativity story together several times so that everyone could take turns with different roles.
We then took a chilly stroll down by the James before they headed back to NC and stopped by the Richmond Battlefield National Park building.
My girls know right where to go for the Civil War dressups in the National Park building.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Disney On Ice

We went down to NC for a fun girls weekend.
 Baby Abby got lots of loves from  Leland and Charly
 Princess Brunch. Suzanne did a great job on the food. We even let them use fancy china.
 All the princesses.
 Nana playing a family jeopardy, then announcing the surprise activity of Disney on Ice.

One of the best parts of the show was watching all their faces.
It was a great show that included the original Disney characters, Cinderella, Princess and the Frog, and Tangled. At the end of the show all the princesses came out.
Thanks Nana for a great memory!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Tree Adventure

When we went to find our Christmas tree, we decided go to part of the farm lot that had the (cheaper) "imperfect" trees left that would soon be cleared. We found a tree that was really full, but was a tad bit lopsided with some gaps.
Everyone took their turn helping cut down the tree. The trunk was huge. We counted 13 rings!
TIMBER!! Chuck was exhausted after cutting through that huge stump.
The tree was so big, it took some work getting it to even fit through the door.
If you look really close on the bottom right picture above, you can see the duct tape holding branches to the trunk. We also used bungee cords, twine, and then had to strategically string the lights in order to keep the branches up and fill the gaps.
Charly's turn to put the star on top.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grand Illumination

This year we decided to watch the Grand Illumination in downtown Richmond from afar. The last two years we were right in the middle of it all. I really liked this new view point.

We took a picnic dinner, including hot chocolate, and went to the VA War Memorial for a great view of the city skyline. We got there just in the nick of time to watch the city light up. It was fabulous. NO crowds,  literally on two other people on the hill by us.
We briefly walked around the memorial.

Then we headed to the Jefferson Hotel to see the Christmas decorations.